Sunday, March 05, 2006

People's Power Won't Happen Again (in Philippines)

The "People's Power Fatigue" !!!

People's Power Won't Happen Again (in Philippines)

FORMER president Fidel V. Ramos sees no immediate end to street protests "with the situation now exacerbated by the proclaimed ‘national emergency’ condition."

But, Ramos says, such protests will not spark a reprise of People Power 1986. "Another ‘People Power’ revolution will not again happen," Ramos writes in a column for the Manila Bulletin. The former president lists what he calls the "powerful factors" that work against another People Power uprising:

-- People are tired of the political bickering; they simply want to carry on with their lives and remain hopeful of a better future.
-- The primary concerns of the citizenry are economic, not political. They worry most about high prices and unemployment.
-- The opposition is "headless and scattered." Some militant groups may be well-organized, but overall, the anti-government forces are divided and confined to a few urban areas.
-- A nationwide outrage is still absent, and there has not been a spark large enough to trigger such outrage into a massive uprising. "The political opposition, civil society protesters and the coup plotters—whoever they are—seem to forget that Edsa I took place only after the passage of 13 years of strongman rule and kleptocracy," Ramos writes.
-- Still absent from among the anti-government forces is the involvement of significant elements of the Armed Forces and the National Police.

But while another People Power uprising is not likely to happen, Ramos says, the "Spirit of Edsa" must be perpetuated and institutionalized, as the country continues to face long-standing problems of poverty, corruption, injustice and inequity.

He traces the roots of these problems to what he describes as "the durable oligarchy"—the alliance between business and politics that allows wealthy and powerful families to use public authority for their own gain.

"This durable oligarchy has used the powers of the State to create opportunities for themselves to make money and more money—without having to create economic value for the common good," Ramos writes.

Ramos repeats his calls for charter change, a proposal he has long made. "Without further delay," he says, "let us do the Constitutional reforms, legislative policies and executive actions essential to sustained progress and development."